While I was busy cooking this morning, I was listening to a CD of Ken Ham called "Raising Godly Chilren in an Ungodly World". He referred to the fact that 70% of children who grow up in a Christian home will not attend church as adults. That's a staggering figure! I called my Mom to ask her about a recipe and told her about those statistics. I told her that they beat the odds. My 2 sisters and I are Christians and attend church regularly. We are also stay at home Moms and homeschool our children. My brother does not go to church,however, and is living a sinful lifestyle. My parents grieve over him.
After I hung up the phone with my Mom, I started thinking about how my parents raised us. Except for 2 1/2 years, we spent most of our childhood in Illinois and Ohio. Not exactly the Bible Belt. We went to public schools all the way through school. I knew nobody who went to church in my highschool except one girl who was Catholic. My parents would have sent us to Christian schools if they had the money. Homeschooling was virtually unheard of in the 70's and early 80's. If homeschooling had been more popular back then, I'm sure my Mom would have jumped in with both feet. In fact she would have picked the funnest curriculum, would have been very involved in a homeschool group, and we would have attended every field trip available! :o)
My Dad was a Minister of Christian Education in our church and we attended church every time the doors were open. :o) We were very blessed to have parents who took us to church, but that is not the only reason why my sisters and I have not lost our faith. Our parents really invested in our lives.
I have countless memories of our family doing things together that really created a bond in our family. We had VERY LITTLE money, but we had a LOT of fun. Every fall, we went to an apple orchard and picked apples. For family vacations, we often went camping. This was a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel, but we had SO much fun! Another fond memory was family night. Every Thursday night, we would gather in front of our small, black and white tv and watch the Waltons. We ate popcorn and donuts and had kool aid. This was in place of a regular meal. It started out as "fasting night" to raise money for missions, but my Mom couldn't bring herself to send us to bed without supper. We also watched Little House on the Prairie as a family. We all made fun of our Mom because she cried during every episode!
Every Fall, we would go to a really fun pumpkin farm and pick out a pumpkin. Then my Dad would help us carve it. We often went to a cookie factory that we thought was quite a treat. We found out as adults that the cookies were really cheap. Christmas was absolutely magical in our family! Before December every year, we would have a calendar making night. My parents would play Christmas records while we made the ornaments for the calendar out of paper, sequins, ric rac, you name it. The night we decorated our Christmas tree every year was also a big event. My Dad would put the lights on and then we would put all of the decorations on, including our homemade ones. We didn't have a fireplace, but we had a cardboard one that we thought was really cool.
My Mom was extremely crafty and my sisters and I usually had a beautiful, homemade dress to wear for Christmas and Easter. She also made really pretty ceramic figurines for Christmas and Easter. Every holiday was so festive! My Mom also took a lot of care to make family mealtimes special. She is an awesome Southern cook and our meals were always yummy! One time we had visited an Amish area, so my Mom made "Shoo Fly Pie" and we stood around the table and sang "Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me". I know this probably sounds so dorky to people outside of our family, but we thought it was fun as kids.
Vacations were so exciting! My Dad always wore a "vacation hat". My Mom always had a little paper bag full of candy for each one of us. We didn't have a tape player, much less a DVD player in the car, but we had a lot of fun singing. That's how I learned to harmonize with my sister, Kellie. We still love to sing together. (I know, we're dorks.)
There weren't a lot of Christian parenting books and ministries like we have today, such as Focus on the Family, Vision Forum, etc. But my Mom and Dad spent a lot of fun time with us and we went to every Christian youth function available in our area. The time and love that they invested in us gave my sisters and I the desire to be Christian wives and mothers and invest in our children's lives.
I rise up and call you blessed, Mom!